Music piracy is very big in India today. People may not acknowledge music piracy as an issue but some day or the other they’ll have to accept that downloading songs for free and copying them from their friends mobile phones/memory cards is music piracy and get on with legitimate ways of doing things – buying songs.
Flipkart Flyte is an online music store that allows users to download DRM-Free MP3 songs from many Bollywood, regional language movies and English albums. Instead of selling Music CD’s that contains a certain number of preloaded songs (mostly from the same album) for a higher price, users can buy and download only the songs they want. The songs sell at rates from Rs. 6 to Rs. 15, with most of the bestsellers/recent songs priced at Rs. 15. It seems around 5000 songs are sold on an average, everyday.
It’s quite obvious that music piracy is not going to end tomorrow. But the question is, can initiatives like the Flipkart Flyte reduce the music piracy? If there is a legal way to download and listen to good songs (at a low price) why should users not buy songs instead of downloading them illegally?
I’ll give some reasons why people should not download songs illegally:
- Most of the illegal sites offering downloads for free will also download adware/spyware and other virus programs to your computer. These softwares will allow your computer to be controlled by nefarious groups and they can do things like read your e-banking/email user-name/password, damage/delete files or make your computer a part of their spamming network which will consume a lot of your bandwidth. So, chances are good that you either lose money directly or indirectly.
- If you copy songs from others who have downloaded them (illegally) from the net, all those viruses and spyware programs will also be copied to your system. Do you want to expose your system to all these unnecessary risks?
- If you buy songs, you’ll buy only the best songs that you want to listen to. But if you download/copy them, there is a good chance that you’ll download a lot of songs that you may not listen to, at all. It’s just a wastage of memory resources and the songs that you want to listen to, may get buried along with many others and become inaccessible.
- Downloading songs illegally will limit the revenue earned by producers/distributors of music albums and hence everyone (including the artists) get paid less. If this continues, many good artists/producers will either drop out or will be too dependent on cinema and will have to make songs targeting cinema viewers. There is less incentive to make good music or for talented musicians to release private albums.
- It’s easy to trace downloads to individual users using IP addresses and tracking systems available with police/cyber cell. Why provide an actionable evidence to law enforcers?
It takes some exposure and experience to understand that anything with a ‘free’ price tag on it, is not really free. There are always some hidden costs. Similarly, illegally downloaded songs are not entirely free. People have to pay for them in some form, later on. Instead of paying in some unnecessary way, why not pay the creators/distributors directly? Why not buy low-cost songs legally, instead of downloading them illegally?